NHL ice hockey franchise the New Jersey Devils has become the first club in the North American league to form a strategic partnership with a National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) team.
The Devils, through parent company Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) have partnered with the NWHL’s Riveters.
Under the agreement, the Riveters will share the Prudential Center arena rent-free, while the Devils will share resources such as marketing, sales, events, game presentation and facilities.
The Riveters will be rebranded to the Metropolitan Riveters, with the team’s uniforms changing to the Devils’ red, black and white colour scheme.
In addition, the NHL side will promote its women’s team events on television broadcasts, arena displays and online media platforms, with select games being featured on The One Jersey Network on newjerseydevils.com.
The Riveters will join the Devils in a NWHL and NHL doubleheader on October 28, marking the season opener for the women’s team.
The Devils and Metropolitan Riveters will collaborate in the development of girls' and women's hockey programs, with NWHL players providing coaching and instruction.
The partnership begins this weekend at Prudential Center in support of World Girls Hockey Weekend.
“We expect this deal to be a large domino, not only in our current markets but in future expansion markets as well,” Dani Rylan, NWHL founder and commissioner, said, according to the New York Times newspaper.
“We think this is ultimately going to change our trajectory significantly, and having an NHL club back our brand and the women’s game, it is going to be exciting to see the ripple effects of this deal.”
HBSE, Devils and Prudential Center president, Hugh Weber, added: “The partnership between Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment and NWHL's Riveters presented itself as an extraordinary opportunity to support youth and women's professional ice hockey at the Prudential Center.
“We are confident that New Jersey Devils fans and those supporting the development of young women in athletics are as proud as we are for the Metropolitan Riveters to call the Prudential Center home. Under the continued leadership and guidance of HBSE Founders, Josh Harris and David Blitzer, we will continue to champion innovative partnerships that promote youth hockey in the Tri-State area."